Being a parent was a gift that alcohol had no respect for.
Years ago, during my youngest son’s senior soccer season, I only missed one game. Now I do not say that as an accomplishment but as a red flag that I definitely missed with my drinking. They were playing a couple of hours away against a state powerhouse. Being a beginning program and mediocre on the field they did not really stand a chance. It was the perfect opportunity to stay home on a Friday night and hit happy hour after work instead of travel to watch a loss. Instead of going to support my son, alcohol, let me seize the moment to rationalize a loss as a way out of my duty as a parent. What is even more prophetic is that it would be the night I would get my one and only DUI.
I skipped the game not even realizing that alcohol was taking over my life. For me, it was just another night of boozing that I thought I could not live without. You would think that ending up in jail would have been a good enough wake up call. Then again to a real alcoholic that seldom is. It didn’t slow me down one bit and I did not even comprehend the disappointment I must have brought to my son. As a young boy I had promised him that I would try harder and my life was not looking like that to him or any of my other kids. I had failed him, I had failed myself, and I had once again failed as a parent. There was enormous guilt and shame that magnified the proof that I was not being a very good father.
In recovery, I have grown very close to that young man of years ago. He has supported me from the very beginning and we have been able to really connect and build a father son relationship. I have been able to listen to his dreams and ideas. To experience his gift of music and performing. Sobriety has given me the ability to offer wise counsel when he asked for it. When he has been in need of a little financial help I have been able to provide it. Most importantly I have been able to love him with unconditional clarity that while drinking I could not. I can now honor all my children as I continue to earn their respect. The day I committed to recovery was the day that the restoration of the relationship with my kids began.
Recovery has taught me what it means to be a FATHER!
Today I can see proof of a parent. I am able to look myself in the mirror and be proud of the parent that I am becoming. My relationships with my sons are growing stronger. My older daughter and I have reconnected and are building a foundation for a strong recovery together. I have been reconnected with my baby girl who is my angel. It has occurred because of my faith in God’s purpose for my life and my commitment to recovery. Those two alone have allowed me to be, not just a dad, but also their father. Someone who is more than just the life of a party, but rather a man who will love without condition. A dad who will guide them in the way that they should go. A father who will always extend his grace and with open arms always allow them to feel at home.
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